January 02, 2006

Renewing America's Promise

The New Year's Eve Democratic radio address, delivered by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reprinted from The Stakeholder and found via TalkingDonkeys:

Good morning. I am Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This holiday season, our thoughts and prayers are with our brave men and women in uniform, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their noble service reminds us of our mission as a nation - to build a future worthy of their sacrifice. This year that mission must include meeting the needs of the survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many of whom spent Christmas in tent cities instead of secure homes.

Despite these hardships, Americans are bringing in the new year hopeful of the possibilities that 2006 may bring. With the new year, comes a new chance for opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

2006 is a year of decision.

One of the first decisions Members of Congress will make is reconsideration of the Republican budget. The federal budget should be a statement of our national values. Sadly, the Republican budget fails that test.

That is why leaders of every religious denomination have led the fight in Washington and across the country to defeat it. Religious leaders told Congress that they are drawing a moral line in the sand against the Republican budget's misplaced priorities.

They reminded us that the Bible teaches that to minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us. Religious leaders stated that our religious tradition teaches us that society, through government, has an obligation to meet the needs of the American people.

In December, in the last days of this last session of Congress, the religious community descended upon Washington in peaceful protest - in the freezing cold. Over 100 were arrested while calling the Republican budget a moral failure, empty of spiritual hope and nourishing resources.

Clearly, America can do better.

Democrats have proposed a budget which protects the middle class, reduces the deficit, and reflects our American values. The budget decision is clear.

We can expand opportunity by investing in education and promoting American competitiveness or we can drive students $6,000 deeper into debt on their student loans.

In the spirit of fairness, we can expand health care to America's children and veterans, or we can limit it. Our American sense of community requires that we subsidize home heating for America's families instead of subsidizing record profits for energy companies. And we can declare our energy independence.

We can promote prosperity by investing in innovation, small business and job creation for the many, or have budget priorities that benefit the privileged few.

We can promote real security by truly investing in homeland security instead of having a Homeland Security Department in disarray. And as we protect and defend the American people, we must not lose sight of our duty to protect and defend the constitution and our civil liberties.

We can demonstrate responsibility by having a Democratic pay-as-you-go budget instead of a Republican budget which increases the deficit. In recognition of the Republican budget's increase of the deficit, the Secretary of the Treasury this week sent a letter to Congress for urgent authority to increase the national debt.

Again, the decision is clear. We must draw a fiscal line in the sand. And we must join the religious community in drawing a moral line in the sand.

Nothing less is at stake than the well-being of America's children, the strength and soundness of our economy, and the respect that America commands in the world.

Today as Americans are making New Year's resolutions, our Democratic New Year's resolution is to renew America's promise. We will build a future worthy of the vision of our founding fathers, the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, and the aspirations of our children.

Happy New Year, and may God continue to bless America.

[Blogger's Note: Rep. Pelosi is a Catholic congresswoman with whom I often disagree, especially over certain matters relating to human life and personhood. Nevertheless, what she has to say about the budget is important for all Catholics, all Christians, and all people of faith to hear -- and we should all come together to oppose the Republican budget].